LOS ANGELES – The University of California Los Angeles’ newest student club will focus on helping illegal immigrant students enroll in medical school and find the financial resources to become physicians.
UCLA administrators approved the new organization, MedDreamers, Aug. 11. The student-run group looks to financially support any undocumented student who wishes to attend medical school and to advocate for policy changes making easier to do so, reports the student newspaper, the Daily Bruin.
“With MedDreamers, we want to level the playing field,” said Marcela Zhou, an undocumented Chinese medical student at UCLA who immigrated illegally through Mexico. “We don’t want to have the stressors of figuring out how to get loans and finding a co-signer, on top of the stresses of going through medical school. We aren’t trying to treat our cases as special; we are just trying to make things fair.”
Medical student Allen Rodriguez, a MedDreamers founding member, told the site it’s hard being an immigrant, but California’s laws are about as good as it gets. There, illegal immigrants can obtain a state license to practice medicine, unlike most states.
Rodriguez said federal student loans aren’t available to students in the country illegally, but he hopes to change that too by connecting with health care professionals to lobby for policy changes.
“In California, we’re quite progressive,” Zhou told the Daily Bruin. “But across the country, undocumented people face quite a few barriers: In California, we can apply for a license to practice but in many…